Conservative Pundits Are Abandoning Trump in Droves

 

Ardent sports fans comprehend that it is a completely natural tendency, and duty, to support their favorite team regardless of their win-loss record, or if a team member makes an embarrassing public misstep. It is no different in the sport of politics. Republicans support their own and it is the same with Democrats. This is particularly true for the team leader; never waver in support for the man or woman at the top.

In the case of Republicans, their standard bearer is a man they have known all along was ill-equipped to ever be in the White House and that is not including Trump’s predilection to criminal behavior, authoritarianism and blatant unrepentant corruption. Republicans certainly were aware of Trump’s corruption because no “renowned” business man declares bankruptcy six times and still maintains a multi-billion dollar business empire; shady deals have been a staple of Trump’s so-called business acumen but the Republican establishment and conservative punditry supported him all the same.

Apparently, to protect the conservative “brand,” the Republican brand, right-wing columnists discarded any sense of decency they may have developed over the years and fully embraced and supported the Trump directly after the election, but now they are finally showing signs that they recognize their folly and are speaking out. It isn’t entirely clear if finding their voices is to distance themselves from Trump to protect their credibility or the conservative brand, but at least they are speaking out.

Three noted conservative columnists have made cases against Trump’s fitness for the White House gig and they have argued points that Democrats and those of us on the left have trumpeted since long before Trump won the Republican nomination, not the election. What is very telling is that Republicans and conservative pundits and writers witnessed the same Trump behavior as Democrats and liberals for well over a year, but they embraced him as a demigod anyway because he carried the home team’s flag.

Erick Erickson is one conservative who heartily embraced Trump post-election, but his tune changed this week after it was revealed that Trump exposed highly-classified intelligence to the Russians. Erickson “reported” that according to a White House insider:

What Trump did  is far worse than what is being reported. The President does not seem to realize or appreciate that his bragging can undermine relationships with our allies and with human intelligence sources. He also does not seem to appreciate that his loose lips can get valuable assets in the field killed.”

Unlike many conservatives, Erickson is not defending Trump’s mammoth blunder because he knows one of the sources intimately and trusts their word explicitly. Erickson was defending the “source’s” need to “leak” the information because he understands it is the only way to stop Trump and protect national security. He said:

If the President, through inexperience and ignorance, is jeopardizing our national security and will not take advice or corrective action, what other means are available to get the President to listen and recognize the error of his ways?”

David Brooks, NYT’s conservative columnist penned an opinion piece titled “When the World Is Led By a Child.” In the conservative’s article he writes:

Trump is an infantalist. There are three tasks that most mature adults have sort of figured out by the time they hit 25. Trump has mastered none of them. Immaturity is becoming the dominant note of his presidency, lack of self-control his leitmotif.”

It is worth the short read to get to the finer points Brooks clearly makes about why Trump is ill-equipped to be president, besides acting like “a 7-year-old boy who is bouncing around the classroom.” Brooks also notes that Trump is “the all-time record-holder of the Dunning-Kruger effect; the phenomenon in which the incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence.”

Although Brooks goes through a litany of accurate assessments of Trump’s childish behavior, he seems to be most concerned, and rightly so, that:

The Russian leak story reveals one other thing, the dangerousness of a hollow man. Our institutions depend on people who have enough engraved character traits to fulfill their assigned duties. But there is perpetually less to Trump than it appears. When we analyze a president’s utterances we tend to assume that there is some substantive process behind the words, that it’s part of some strategic intent.”

Obviously, Brooks is stating that Trump has no strategic intent, but he also knows like everyone on the left that Trump never had any “strategic intent.” He has known that obvious fact since Trump entered the race for the presidency, and yet he reined in his criticism to protect the conservative brand that Trump is decimating every day he occupies the White House.

New York Times conservative columnist Ross Douthat proposed using the 25th Amendment as opposed to impeachment to get Trump out of the Oval Office; a place he shouldn’t be allowed to visit, much less occupy. Douthat fairly summed up what kind of mess Republicans are desperate to get away from despite his “exhortations” to them a few days ago about fulfilling their duty to America. He wrote:

If the G.O.P.’s surrender to candidate Trump made exhortations about Republican politicians’ duty to their country seem like so much pointless verbiage, now President Trump has managed to make exhortation seem unavoidable again.”

Douthat  explained that Trump lacks even the basic traits necessary to be president, traits Trump wouldn’t know if they walked up to him, introduced themselves and then smacked that silly orange right off his face. Douthat wrote:

One needs some basic attributes: a reasonable level of intellectual curiosity, a certain seriousness of purpose, a basic level of managerial competence, a decent attention span, a functional moral compass, a measure of restraint and self-control. And if a president is deficient in one or more of them, you can be sure it will be exposed.”

Douthat ends his piece with an open and public appeal to Republican leaders to put an end to the “team’s” and the country’s nightmare before Trump can inflict too much damage on the “brand” and the nation. He wrote:

I respectfully ask Mike Pence and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to reconsider their support for a man who never should have had his party’s nomination, never should have been elevated to this office, never should have been endorsed and propped up and defended by people who understood his unfitness all along.” (author bold)

It isn’t often, if ever, that a conservative of any stripe echoes the deep-seated sentiment of Democrats and the left even if they tacitly agree. But in this case, in pleading with Republicans to do the right thing and stop defending a corrupt, incompetent criminal, something liberal columnists have called for since Trump was inaugurated, Douthat is saying exactly what the left started screaming about a year ago. Except at this juncture, and amid the daily revelations that Donald Trump is as corrupt as he is criminal, removing Trump from office because he is unfit to serve is not going to cut it. Trump needs to impeached and sent to prison along with every last one of his subordinates who aided or covered for his disastrous and criminal administration.

Trump Must Be Impeached For Obstructing Justice In Comey Firing

 

People of color might disagree with the idea that justice is blind in the same fashion that highly-connected rich people disagree with the concept that no man is above the law. Regardless that the justice system does not always seem equitable, the fact still remains that the law applies to all Americans equally. That being the case, there is a federal law that Donald Trump violated by all accounts and it is not only reason enough for him to be impeached and thrown out of office, once he is out of office he can and should be indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. And if convicted by a jury, he should go straight to a federal penitentiary to serve out his sentence with his tiny little hands bound to keep him off of social media.

When Trump fired James Comey because “I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story,’” he sent a signal that he was attempting to pervert the course of justice. In America the term is “obstructing justice” and according to the Cornell University Law School definition:

Obstruction of justice is defined in the omnibus clause of 18 U.S.C. § 1503, which provides that ‘whoever . . . . corruptly or by threats or force, or by any threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice, shall be (guilty of an offense).'”

Cornell goes on to explain that “a person obstructs justice when they have a specific intent to obstruct or interfere with a judicial proceeding. For a person to be convicted of obstructing justice, they must not only have the specific intent to obstruct the proceeding, but the person must know (1) that a proceeding was actually pending at the time; and (2) there must be a nexus between the defendant’s endeavor to obstruct justice and the proceeding, and the defendant must have knowledge of this nexus.”

The Ohio State Bar Association’s legal definition of obstruction of justice is a tad simpler than Cornell University’s:  “Obstruction consists of any attempt to hinder the discovery, apprehension, conviction or punishment of anyone who has committed a crime.”

What all of this means to regular Americans is that it is a crime and an impeachable offense to act with the “specific intent to obstruct or interfere with a judicial or congressional proceeding, or a proceeding before a federal agency (such as an investigation). The proceeding must be pending at the time of the conduct and the defendant must know it.”

Now, there is no doubt whatsoever that Trump’s firing of the FBI Director meets the standards to be charged with obstruction as a federal crime because his specific intent was interfering with the investigation he damn sure knows is “actually pending,” according to his own admission. And, he has knowledge there is a nexus (link, connection) between his firing Comey and the proceeding; in this case “the proceeding” is an active FBI investigation into the Trump and his connection to Russia.

Regardless of needing to meet the legal definition of obstructing the course of justice, it’s not as if there has to be an investigation into whether or not Trump terminated James Comey as FBI Director to “pervert the cause of justice;” because on two separate occasions he admitted that was his intent.

After he fired Mr. Comey and during a nationally broadcast interview with Lester Holt on NBC’s Nightly News program, Trump brushed aside his administration’s public excuses for the firing and blatantly confessed his purpose in removing Comey. He was defiant in saying:

I was going to fire Comey. When I decided to just do it, I said to myself, ‘You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.’”

But some Trump supporters might say he was just being Trump, acting like a “badass boss;” that excuse might be even be believable if not for the night before the firing. Before officially dismissing the man leading the investigation into collusion between the Trump, his campaign, and Russia,  Trump used his preferred media outlet, Twitter to say:

The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

The very next day Trump then took matters into his own hand and likely believed he put an end to the taxpayer-funded “Russia-Trump collusion story” by firing Mr. Comey. Regardless whether the investigation continues going forward or not, Trump’s action was an attempt to obstruct justice and no small number of legal experts, political pundits, and politicians agree.

This action on Trump’s part is a very serious breach of the law and a sign that he is emulating authoritarian monsters like Saddam Hussein, Vladimir Putin, Egypt’s Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, Philippine president Manuel Duterte and Adolf Hitler (sod off Godwin). Of course Trump hasn’t yet had Mr. Comey assassinated on the street like the above mentioned dictators, but he did attempt to obstruct justice and according to Article II, sec. 4 of the Constitution, he must be removed from office for what qualifies as “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

Former President Gerald Ford once said that “an impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment.” And, it is important to note that “the Supreme Court has held that matters of impeachment pose political questions unsuitable for judicial review;” the conservative High Court can’t interfere and save Trump. (author bold)

Although there is no black-and-white definition of what an impeachable offense entails any more than what is regarded as “high crimes and misdemeanors,” there is a consensus among legal experts most Americans would heartily agree with. For example, “conduct that violates the public trust, including serious abuses of governmental powers” would be regarded as high crimes and misdemeanors by anyone not related to Donald Trump. However, in this case those standards are reinforced with conduct that is otherwise criminally prosecutable making the case for impeachment much stronger.

Look, it is important to note that in the case of the attempted impeachment of Richard Nixon, he was accused of “obstructing the due administration of justice” for just attempting to interfere with an investigation by the FBI.

It was exactly the same situation with Bill Clinton’s impeachment; the two articles of impeachment were “grounded in allegations he had impeded the administration of justice by making false statements.” The only reasons for making false statements was to obstruct the “administration of justice.”

In both cases, articles of impeachment were drawn up for either “impeding the administration of justice” or “obstructing the due administration of justice” by “attempting to interfere with an FBI investigation.” There is no possible scenario where any sane human being would not consider Trump’s actions as anything other than “obstructing the due administration of justice by attempting to interfere with an FBI investigation.”

It seems that since Trump moved into the White House on day one there were myriad “possible” reasons to impeach him and throw him out of office whether it was using the office of the presidency to make money off taxpayers or colluding with Russia; but this is a different story. By any measure Trump himself revealed the only reason he fired the FBI Director was to subvert the course of justice and put an end to the investigation into his collusion with a hostile foreign power. If he sincerely felt Comey had lost confidence of his underlings due to a perception he mishandled the bogus Clinton email case, or didn’t handle it according to Trump, he could have fired him on day one of his administration; but of course he didn’t – he waited until the FBI was closing in on his collusion with Russia.

There is every reason to believe that Trump conspired to obstruct justice to cover his acts of treason in colluding with Russia. And if Republicans weren’t traitors to the Constitution they would impeach the criminal and throw him out of the White House; right into the waiting arms of federal prosecutors to try him for the federal crime of obstruction of justice and send him to prison.